GOFFSTOWN, N.H. — Hoping to stop his march to the nomination, Mitt Romney’s rivals sharply challenged his record running a Boston investment firm, accusing him tonight of slashing jobs in pursuit of profits.
But Romney strongly defended his business experience, saying his critics do not understand how jobs are created and that businesses sometimes fail.
In the first debate since the Iowa caucuses affirmed Romney’s front-runner status and anointed Rick Santorum as a top challenger, Romney was at times put on the defensive. But his rivals, attempting to position themselves as the one who can beat the former Massachusetts governor, spent much of the time vigorously attacking each other. That spared Romney any intense, sustained scrutiny as he heads, with a wide lead, into the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.
Santorum, fresh off his near-win in Iowa, opened the attack on Romney, charging that the former chief executive of Bain Capital lacks the background to handle foreign affairs.
“He says, ‘I’m going to be, you know, I’ve got business experience,’” Santorum said. “Well, business experience doesn’t necessarily match up with being the commander-in-chief of this country.”
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